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QUEBEC ACT

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 730 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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QUEBEC ACT, the title usually given to a bill introduced into the House of Lords on May 2, 1774, entitled " An Act for making more Effectual Provision for the Government of the Province of Quebec, in North America." It passed the House of Lords on May 17, was discussed in the Commons from May 26 to June 13, and finally passed with some amendments. These were accepted by the Lords, in spite of the opposition of Lord Chatham, and the bill received the royal assent on June 22. The debates in the House of Commons are not found in the Parliamentary History, but were published separately by J. Wright in 1839. The speech of Lord Chatham is given in the Chatham Correspondence (iv. 351-353). By this act the boundaries of the Canadian province of Quebec were extended so as to include much of the country between the Ohio and the Mississippi. The French inhabitants of the province were granted the liberty to profess " the religion of the Church of Rome"; the French civil law was established, though in criminal law the English code was introduced. Government was vested in a governor and council, a representative assembly not being granted till the Constitutional Act of 1791. The granting of part of the Western territory to Quebec, and the recognition of the Roman Catholic religion, greatly angered the American colonies. On the other hand, it did much to keep the French Canadians from joining the Americans in the coming struggle. The act is still looked back to by the French in Canada as their great charter of liberty. clergy. First-fruits (annates) and tenths (decimae) formed originally part of the revenue paid by the clergy to the papal exchequer. The former consist of the first whole year's profit of all spiritual preferments, the latter of one-tenth of their annual profits after the first year. In accordance with the provisions of two acts (5 & 6 Anne, c. 24, and 6 Anne, c. 27) about 3900 poor livings under the annual value of £5o were discharged from first-fruits and tenths. The income derived from first-fruits and tenths was annexed to the revenue of the crown in 1535 (26 Hen. VIII. c. 3), and so continued until 1703. Since that date there has been a large mass of legislation dealing with Queen Anne's Bounty, the effect of which will be found set forth in a Report of a Joint Select Committee on the Queen Anne's Bounty Board, 190o. The governors consist of the archbishops and bishops, some of the principal officers of the government, and the chief legal and judicial authorities. The augmentation proceeds on the principle of assisting the smallest benefices first. All the cures not exceeding £10 per annum must have received £200 before the governors can proceed to assist those not exceeding £20 per annum. In order to encourage benefactions, the governors may give £200 to cures not exceeding £45 a year, where any person will give the same or a greater sum. The average income from first-fruits and tenths is a little more than C16,000 a year. In 1906 the trust funds in the hands of he governors amounted to £7,023,000. The grants in 1906 mounted to £28,607, the benefactions to £29,888. The accounts are laid annually before the king in council and the houses of parliament. The duties of the governors are not confined to the augmentation of benefices. They may in addition lend money for the repair and rebuilding of residences and for the execution of works required by the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Acts, and may receive and apply compensation money in respect of the enfranchisement of copyholds on any benefice. The governors are unpaid; the treasurer and secretary receives a salary of £i000 a year. He is appointed by patent under the great seal, and holds office during the pleasure of the crown.
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